Oscar Night '09

While most of America was tuned into the 81st Academy Awards on Sunday night, your WhoWhatWear.com editors were busy abusing our Tivos-pausing and rewinding E!'s red carpet coverage to get a thorough review of everyone's outfits! Since the Oscars are the pinnacle of the award show season, we expected the usual overflow of jaw-dropping ensembles. Surprisingly, the evening was oddly underwhelming and for the most part, the looks were merely serviceable. But even though we weren't inundated with amazing outfits galore, we did see a few standout gowns that deserve another minute in the spotlight. For today's Oscar review, we pulled some looks directly from the red carpet-with a few post-party getups thrown in the mix too-for you to peruse and debate. As always, we selected the ladies (and dresses) that surprised us or interested us, rather than simply giving you the usual suspects. Hope you enjoy!

Sarah Jessica Parker
We kick off today's splendid roundup with Sarah Jessica Parker, as the notoriously well-dressed actress graced the Kodak Theatre in a voluminous Dior Haute Couture gown. The celestial dress was a one-of-a-kind for the evening, with pretty tulle detailing and a wide belt that flattered Parker's phenomenal figure. SJP finalised her gorgeous selection with Fred Leighton jewellery, including a diamond and gold bangle, diamond flower earclips, and a nine-carat cushion-cut diamond ring.

Gwen Stefani
We can always count on Gwen Stefani to appear on the red carpet in something that makes a fabulous statement. Sunday night she did just that, showing up at the Vanity Fair party in a delicately structured Chanel couture dress. The black gown was much edgier than most of the evening's looks, but perfectly styled with a pair of Roger Vivier peep-toe pumps and Bulgari's diamond stud earrings. The sum of this look was modern and marvellous-just like Stefani herself!

Natalie Portman
When it comes to major events, Natalie Portman is usually a well-dressed wild card who shows up in an unexpected, but usually dazzling, frock. Portman kept up said sartorial reputation on Oscar night, when she showed up in a brilliant fuchsia gown by Rodarte. The strapless silhouette and sorbet-like shade made for the perfect fusion of classic and au courant, propelling Portman to the top of endless best-dressed lists. We also appreciate the spot-on finishing touches: six-carat diamond drop earrings by Kwiat and some dark polish.

Zooey Deschanel
Amidst all the very serious gowns and extremely grown-up (dare we say, dowdy) dresses, there were a few youthful looks. One such breath of fresh air came courtesy of the queen of quirky-the lovely Zooey Deschanel. The bright-eyed actress shined, literally, in a short, silver sequin and lace Elie Saab dress. Deschanel complimented her sweet cocktail frock with equally stellar accessories, specifically a Ferragamo clutch and a pair of charcoal suede peep-toe pumps by Moschino Cheap and Chic.

Angelina Jolie
Sometimes all it takes to truly make waves on the red carpet is the perfect black dress. Angelina Jolie reminded us of this fashion fact in her floor-length raven Elie Saab Couture Dress. The silk mousseline gown was custom-made, so it hugged her body exquisitely. To finish, the actress punched up her already-untouchable status with a pair of 115-carat Lorraine Schwartz emerald teardrop earrings (plus a matching 65-carat ring) and a Lana Marks Cleopatra Clutch. In short: she looked super luxurious and very villainess chic.

Kate Bosworth
Though Kate Bosworth beams a great deal on her own, her knee-length Alexander McQueen dress brought about even more radiance! The fully beaded frock (which is from the designer's resort collection) paired with a smart box bag, gold sandals, and matching gold bracelet was hands-down one of the chicest ensembles of the night. Taking her slicked-back hairdo into consideration, Bosworth's overall look conjures visions of old school glamour, à la Grace Kelly.

Freida Pinto
Seeing as this is the first Academy Award show for the Slumdog Millionaire actress, Freida Pinto, we'd say she fared quite well for herself! Pinto stayed on par with Hollywood's other leading ladies in a beaded asymmetrical blue gown by John Galliano. Though you can't see them in this photo, Pinto also slipped into some fabulous Jimmy Choo metallic peep-toe heels that corresponded well with her silver clutch.

Marisa Tomei
If the Marisa Tomei photo confuses you ("That wasn't her Oscar dress!"), rest assured that our reporting is accurate. While Tomei killed the red carpet in a super stunning Versace dress, she changed for the after-parties. That's right, like many of her peers, Tomei sported two different looks for Oscar night-talk about glamour! Seen here heading to the Vanity Fair after-party, Tomei changed from the aforementioned gorgeous Versace gown to a multi-coloured Juan Carlos Obando dress, which she wore with Verdura Maltese Cross Cuffs and Jimmy Choo pumps. We appreciate and adore the first gown, but also love the easy whimsy of her second, more casual, look.

Evan Rachel Wood
Though we normally prefer the young ladies of Hollywood to take risks, we concede that the Academy Awards might not be the best place to try a new trend. That said, we must admit that we swooned for Evan Rachel Wood's wildly gorgeous, extremely classic dress. Wood's gown is a part of the Elie Saab Couture Spring/Summer 09 collection and we think the ivory silk mousseline and silk satin dress is the epitome of silver screen glamour. As for her accessories, Wood also selected a pair of Stuart Weitzman shoes, Sergio Rossi bag, and Neil Lane jewellery, including a Darkened Diamond Bracelet and Chandelier Earrings.

Dita Von Teese
Between her perfectly polished maquillage and fondness for evening gowns, Dita Von Teese is practically Oscar Night-ready at all times. Nevertheless, the burlesque beauty kicked things up a notch on the actual evening in a shocking sulphur-yellow satin gown by Christian Lacroix. The knotted, knee-length dress made for a lively counterpoint to Von Teese's magenta-red Christian Louboutin heels-perfect for these Technicolor times!

Tilda Swinton
There's something about Tilda Swinton that we find endlessly captivating. Perhaps it's the fact that she doesn't give a fig about the Hollywood game and always does her own thing? Swinton's independent spirit led her to yet another sophisticated outfit choice, as she turned up at the awards ceremony in a nude blouse and black skirt from Lanvin's Pre-Fall 09 collection. We know that her ensemble isn't to everyone's taste, but, no matter what the mainstream media says, we love her uncompromisingly avant-garde sense of style.

Natalia Vodianova
Natalia Vodianova never fails to brighten a room (or a red carpet, for that matter) even when she's wearing all black. Seen here at the Vanity Fair party, Vodianova selected a black single-sleeve Calvin Klein Collection dress from Fall 09. Leave it to the stunning supermodel to wear next season's dress! While some might say this dress has more catwalk attitude than a cocktail party can handle, we're just glad that someone went for the edgy choice.

Photos of Dita Von Teese, Gwen Stefani, and Tilda Swinton, Getty Images. Photos of Freida Pinto, Angelina Jolie, Evan Rachel Wood, and Natalie Portman, INF.